I had this idea of writing this super analytical paper about my time in Cuba but I really don’t think that I can. It’s not that I don’t have the capacity to do so, but rather the trip means so much to me that I don’t really think I can explain it to anyone without loosing myself and you in this deep vortex of my thoughts (which happens a lot). Instead, I typed up some of the notes I wrote in my journal while I was in Cuba accompanied by my fire pics.
2/15/17 – First day in Cuba
- The power of hip-hop is real. Our Cab driver asked what kinda music we listen to and when I said I like hip-hop, he pressed play on his iphone and ‘J-cole’s Get off my dick started playing.. (J-cole ain’t my fav but that’s fire)
- I like Cuba.
- Colors everywhere.
- Don’t see white people around these parts aka residential areas and it makes me feel good. Safe almost.
- Exhausted from the 3 planes I had to take to get here. Boston to Charlotte. Then to Miami. Then to Cuba.
- Don’t like white old people traveling. On the plane all they talked about was their frequent trips to Zimbabwe and “exotic countries”.. More fetishization of a culture then respect but ya girl ain’t surprised.
- Sitting in my lobby and I just finished reading Ryu Murakami’s In The Miso Soup. It fucked me up but it’s kinda fitting to my previous comment?
- Wow this is great. Not just physically being here but the feeling of disconnect I get from traveling. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-technology but I like temporary disconnect from others as means to form new deep relationships.
- Relaxing. Happiness. Independence.
- No dark thoughts.. Or at least not that many.
- Pushing my survival limits is fun. Kinda like a game. Kinda like will I find my way home.
- Song of the trip
- 1 hour mission to get sandwiches this morning.
- Maxine sleeps in odd positions.
- Went to BLCK family dinner
- Maxine got a man that ended up with another girl. Niggas will be niggas.
- Went to FAC (Fabrica Del Arte). A club and gallery in a giant warehouse.
- I made out with an aquarius..
- He was cute.
- We talked about deep shit. Socialism vs. Capitalism.
- He teaches kids fencing because ‘in Cuba to some extent everyone has equal opportunity to choose a sport they like and he liked fencing the best’
- Wow. imagine we could choose as supposed to what we just have access to???
- He loves his mom and she’s his screen saver
- Born in 96………. Fuck. yeah I know.
- Might call him or might not. I’m a scorpio so maybe I shouldn’t.
- Romanticize it or take it further?
- YOLO liana.
- James thought Yuca taste like potatoes. Disrespectful.
- Went to old Havana
- Met the famous Cuba artist Choco at his studio and had a deep conversation about his work and my current struggles. He said…
- I’m young still and can take my time and learn.
- As I get older textuality will be added to my work.
- He lowkey flirted with me but it was smooth… I asked him ‘How long does it generally take you to make a piece of work…’ He answered ‘it depends if I have eaten today or if I’ve seen a beautiful lady like yourself..’ SMOOOOOOVEEEEEEEE.
- Inspired and I feel more calm about my rush to create and buy moms a crib
- I literally have deep talks with everyone in Spanish. I love speaking Spanish. Makes me feel good and at home. Nice to move around a place with ease and in a way fit in.. not all like traveling Asia and feeling visible and invisible at the same time.
- Got lost in old residential Havana. Beautiful and everything is useful though it seems ‘broken’ (but the term broken in relation to western context on what broken and new are defined in relation to the idea of capitalist overconsumption)..
- America’s idea of new isn’t right. Old is good too. Old is useful. Just take care of it.
- Met Carla and Riane and enjoyed myself at the bar.
- Throughout this trip I drank my weight in mojitos.
- Been cheating on Hennessy with Havana Club rum.. The feeling is similar to that time I cheated on my chimi truck.
- Shoutout to Francisco and Jonathan
- Yesterday was like crew vibes and I’m happy to have made friends in such a short time.
- Got lost walking to the bar and found a teen club where everyone was singing BTS’ Fire and honestly I was so confused and happy. Shoutout to BTS and GOT7.
- I’m so happy here.
- ALSO, SHOUTOUT TO ME FOR BEING DOMINICAN. ORGULLO SIEMPRE.
- Went back to old Havana.
- Blue everywhere.
- Maxine wanted ice cream but no place had strawberry ice cream. Some boy asked her if she wanted a taxi and she said ‘no I want ice cream’. He thought she was joking but he went to his friend and then his friend and him walked us to an ice cream shop. Lowkey felt sketchy but they took us to a place with 2o flavors but none were strawberry. I bought them ice cream. It was nice. Thank you Jonathan and Ariel. You really set us up for success.
- Hung out with the BLCK family for dinner at a rooftop. Lowkey not my favorite food but the vibe was nice.
- Made me miss Plan B. Shoutout to our waiter at Plan B. She really loves us and we love her. Never wanna leave her and I love how her scrunchie always matches her shirt.
- Woke up and get gallons of watermelon juice and piña for 2 dollars
- Maxine sleeps in so I’m in charge of getting food because babygirl can sleep.
- Got ready for the beach.
- Took a cab because the bus was full. 5 dollars a person for a 45 minute drive.
- Santa Maria del Mar and we went to Megano beach.
- Loved the beach though I hate sand. Read an article on Japanese photography called “Acts of Intimacy: The Erotic Gaze in Japanese Photography”
- Max is bae for bring me that from her job all the way in NYC so I could read it.
- I even took a nap.
- Max took her portrait pictures. She really wanted to take a picture of a little girl but didn’t want to ask but the little girl went up to her and asked Max to take her picture. Funny how life works.
- Lots of old men in speedos.
- Beaches are cool. Lay and do nothing. Got back to the house and took a nap, and went to a restaurant ‘ la pelota’.
- We took a taxi and went to Riane and Carla’s place to say goodbye before they left.
- Talked a lot about music and the culture. Felt happy. I really like them.
- I’m glad I asked them out to beer randomly after talking to them on the street for 5 minutes.
- Lost connections are never fun. Hang out with people while you can so it never becomes the ‘great perhaps’. Great perhaps are lowkey wack because it becomes this weird romanticized relationship in your head where you eventually become complacent holding back in fear of breaking your own fantasy.
- Reminds me of that bae I met on the train in Thailand. He was cool but I regret not asking him and his friends to beer or something.
2/20/17 – Last Day in Cuba
- Too sad to leave.
- Bought gifts and said goodbye to our favorite waitress. Hugged her and she was sad to see us go. I love her. I really do.
- SHOUTOUT TO PLAN B LECHON PIO. The best restaurant in Verdado with the greatest waitress in the world.
- Last day, we hung out Silvia our host and her husband. They really took care of us.
- Talked to Silvia about how calm things are here and how living in a fast pace society gives me anxiety.. she told me that there is a famous quote Cubans use – ‘Dress me slowly because I’m in a rush’.. and I could say was damnnnn.
- Didn’t see one person rush in Cuba. Learning to take it easy and do things right the first time. or.. at least I’ll try to learn.
- Tried to get tattoos but the tattoo artist was sleeping. ps. tattoos in Cuba are $5.
- Found out I was calling the aquarius from the wrong number the whole time.
- Called him and when it rang I hung up… ya bitch scuurrrd.
- Called again and let it ring but no answer. Whatever lost connections are cool because you can romanticize what if… (LOL didn’t I say that they were wack earlier? IDKIDKIDK)
- Fuck we gotta leave. Don’t wanna go.
- Packed and left for the airport at 5 am.
- Poor Max has a tummy ache.
- At the airport my phone deleted all my notes with all my numbers and quotes from my trip.
- I could cry but then again, what I need to remember will always be in my head.
- Catch flights not feelings isn’t real.. I always catch feelings and never want to go.
- Final conclusion – Capitalism isn’t it. Cuba got it.
Thank you for everything Cuba. The deep talks, missed connections, and connections made RIP to the 2 rolls of film that came out blank and the one roll still missing in my backpacking backpack that I still haven’t unpacked a month after returning…Gracias por todo Cuba. Regreso pronto.
P.S- Making a book of my photography in Cuba and other travels and its expected to be done around Mid-May so wait on that. I just gotta sit down, do it and chillllllll on the anime and stanning GOT7.
Peace, love, henny, and most importantly stay safe
email me or DM if anything. I always respond even though sometimes late.
– 리 theYOUTH
Written March 22, 2017